I’d like to think the area in which I reside experienced some serious whiplash this summer. There were some really great and successful times, and then suddenly it felt like the world was falling apart.
I am empath, which means I am sometimes easily affected by my surroundings and the people in it, and it wasn’t always easy trying to enjoy my own life events while witnessing the disaster-like state of our world, specifically the U.S. I had some options when it came to how to handle this violence, negativity, and confusion. I found that to ignore it was ignorant, in my opinion. I’m fully aware of my privilege, and ignoring it or not talking about it only made me feel guilty. I chose to remain informed and connected. Connected in enough sense that I was aware and could voice my opinion and discover ways to contribute to what I believed in, such as recycling as much as I could, donating to campaigns and charities, and being kind to nearly every person I met.
Working at a library helped me do this. I’ve worked at a library for over a year now, and I can truthfully say it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I think back to the beginning of 2016. I was happy, for the most part, but overall had a rather bleak outlook on life, deep within my soul. I had no stability, no direction, and I was in a constant state of denial in how I truly felt about myself. I won’t say working at a library completely solved all of my problems. Controlling my anxiety is a work in progress, and there are days where I’m wondering how in the hell I’m actually “adulting” (but that’s what being in your mid to late twenties is all about).
I, of course, have always found comfort in the library. I walk into one and immediately feel a rush of relief (unless the library is PACKED full of children, in which I enter a state of slight panic). But working at one has allowed me to embrace empathy, understanding, and insight more than I ever have. Yes, there are days when I interact with certain patrons, and then I want to punch a hole in the wall, but those days are far and few between. One of my ultimate goals in life is to bring others joy; I am a people-pleaser, like a giant doofy golden retriever at heart (this isn’t to say that I am not part finicky, #queen, calico cat, I do have those days). In the end, I always aim to do that with my work (my writing), and I’m fortunate and lucky enough to say that I have already.
Working in a library has enhanced this feeling–this feeling of expressing myself and helping/sharing with others. It allows me to connect to individuals and provide some sort of relief or joy in their life. A majority of what I do involves one-on-one teaching, to provide them with a way to connect to our ever-changing society and community, and showing them multiples resources to get them there, if not providing them myself. On the other hand, I am able to makes suggestions and bring some fun and entertainment into their life, such as recommending a book, helping them order a movie, or making it possible for them to attend the library’s (and the community’s) wonderful events. The library has always been a place of building skills and collecting resources, but it is also a place of communication, kindness, and empathy. It is my place of home, and in combination with my work as a writer, editor, and teacher, I have loved my first year in the start of this awesome career.
With that said, my last semester at Central Michigan University begins in less than a week. I’m taking two classes, one is a workshop in which I was fortunate enough to be invited and allowed into, even though my program only allows two workshops. I’m absolutely ecstatic to be in a group of new people, as well as to continue to polish my writing and work on some new material. Come December, my family and my guy will watch me graduate, and then it’s on to getting my degree to be a librarian.
This summer brought major change. I have a new niece, Harper Layne, who I adore and love with all my heart. I was able to experience some new publishing opportunities, publishing more of my fiction. I connected with new people and made new friends. I read so many new books, so many, ugh, I can’t wait to talk about them (summer list coming soon!). My brother and his wife took me to Beijing which was beyond anything ever imaginable (featured photo from the Great Wall–will post more soon). My mom is finally in a place of happiness, which brings me so much joy. I started working out more regularly again, and I love feeling so refreshed in the morning.
Love brought me a lot of change this summer, too. My guy and I have spent so much time together, and we’ve gone on so many wonderful adventures, from concerts, to trips up north, to spending time with my family and his, to movie nights, to late-night drives, and everything else plus more. We laugh so much, and I love that about us. We’re certainly dorky, no doubt about it, but our love feels so right and so true. The way he knows how to make me smile–it’s insane. I think my favorite thing about us is how we don’t take everything that is so typically “standard” in a relationship so seriously. He knows he doesn’t need to buy me things ALL the time, like big bouquets of flowers or giant boxes of chocolates. I know I don’t need to do my makeup every morning before he wakes up. He knows he doesn’t have to hold the door open for me every time, because sometimes, I want to hold it open for him.
I know every couple’s definition of love is different. Some of the things I listed, like chocolate and holding the door open, may apply to some couples, and that’s okay. Every love is special. For us, our love means laughing for an hour over how to pronounce “tapestry.” It means taking the tater tots out of the oven and burning my finger, sniffling about it, and he kisses it, gives me a hug, then slaps my butt. It means lying in bed, listening to indie rock, and talking about our goals and looking into each other’s eyes. It means being open and honest about our feelings, which we’ve come so damn far in just the last year, it’s amazing, and knowing we can always talk about the hard stuff, like anxiety and depression. It means him telling me I’m beautiful when I’m in an over-sized nightshirt and sick with allergies. It means me letting him tell me all about certain bands or musicians, even though I may not like the particular genre or style of music. We love art–God, do we love art. Some may say two artists cannot be in a relationship together because it’s too “competitive,” and that is just simply not true.
Of course, we disagree about art and other topics (see bands and musicians mentioned above). We’ll always disagree because that’s normal. But, we both have a deep passion for learning, and we love to listen to one another and learn. We joke about being a #powercouple, because what does that even mean, but you know, I feel like we are. In our own way. We want to help people in this world and make art, and that’s cliche, but it’s true.
This is also cliche as hell, but he reminds me how beautiful, radiant, and confident I am on days when I feel opposite. He understands how independent I am and encourages me to thrive in self-appreciation and self-love, and I do the same with him. Yet we can both always rely on each other, and we build each other up every day. Our love is a discovery, each day more and more in love.
He reminded me why sunrises are so pretty and why I like throwing popcorn at people. I reminded him that love can grow slowly (and that’s okay) and why having a glass of water can really improve your mood. We have empathy. For our friends, for our families, for strangers. We care for people. We like people (most days…haha). We care about each other. We are like peas and carrots. And coffee. Because we love coffee.
I promise I will get back to talking about books and movies, but I felt the need to reflect a little. It’s good to do that, right? Right.
All my best, and happy end of summer.